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Donald Trump becomes first world leader to meet Japan’s new Emperor Naruhito

Emperor Naruhito ascended the Chrysanthemum Throne on May 1, marking the beginning of a new era in the Japanese timeline -the Reiwa era.

May 27, 2019 17:21 IST
Donald Trump becomes first world leader to meet Japan’s new Emperor Naruhito

US President Donald Trump on May 26, 2019 created history by becoming the first foreign leader to meet Japan’s newly crowned emperor, Emperor Naruhito at Japan's Imperial Palace.

Emperor Naruhito ascended the Chrysanthemum Throne on May 1, marking the beginning of a new era in the Japanese timeline -the Reiwa era. This followed the abdication by his father, Emperor Akihito. Emperor Akihito, who abdicated his throne on April 30, 2019, became the first Japanese emperor to do so since 1817.

Trump- Emperor Naruhito first meeting: Key Highlights

The US President and first lady Melania Trump kicked off their formal visit to Japan with greetings with Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako. The President is on a four-day visit to Japan.

Upon his landing, he was treated to a large welcome ceremony replete with military bands and a group of school children waving US-Japanese flags.

In the outdoor ceremony, Trump and the first lady, stood on a platform as the national anthems of the two countries were performed. Trump was then received with a guard of honour.

The ceremony was attended by Emperor Naruhito and the empress along with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie and other imperial family members.

The US President then had a palace visit in the morning, followed by a royal banquet in the evening, hosted by the emperor.

Trump also made a visit to the Japanese state guest house for meetings and held discussions with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.  

Trump is also expected to address troops at a US base in Japan, highlighting the military alliance between the two allies.

Speaking on his meeting with the emperor, Trump called it a very important event in the history of Japan.

US-Japan Bilateral Talks

The main issues that were taken up for discussion during the bilateral talks between the two nations include trade, military ties, efforts to curb North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme and the growing trade war between the US and China.

Recently, as per reports, North Korea had conducted some missile tests. Trump addressed ongoing speculation about North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme by saying that lots of good things will come with North Korea. “We’ve come a long way. There’s a good respect built, maybe a great respect built between certainly the United States and North Korea,” said Trump.

Trump had also previously downplayed North Korea’s missile tests by tweeting, “North Korea fired off some small weapons, which disturbed some of my people, and others, but not me.” He asserted that he had confidence that Chairman Kim will keep his promise made to him.

Further, Japanese PM Shinzo Abe brought up the issue of Japanese people, who as per Japan were abducted by North Korea, and said that a face-to-face meeting with the North Korean leader was the only way to resolve the issue, however, the north has not shown much interest in the matter. Japan suspects that dozens of Japanese, who are still missing, were abducted by North Korean agents in 1970s and 80s to train their own spies in Japanese language and culture.

Further, Trump railed against the trade imbalance between the world's top and third-largest economies and vowed to make the relationship fairer. The two leaders agreed to accelerate two-way trade talks.

However, much of the US-Japan deal is expected to be held off until Abe faces upper house elections, which are likely to be held in July. As per reports, Abe is expected to combine the upper house elections with a snap general election.

Another key agenda of discussion included arms sales to Japan. Trump confirmed that Japan has been considering the option of revamping its air force with advanced US F-35 stealth warplanes.

Trump also welcomed the Japanese Prime Minister’s offer to pursue a dialogue with Iran to help defuse mounting tensions.